Fall can be a beautiful time of year, but with strong winds and leaves flowing everywhere it’s good to be prepared.
Our list below covers a total of 40 different things you can do to get yourself best prepared for the autumn months. However, these aren’t all a necessity! Think of them more like food for thought. Use them to help make sure you’re not missing any important tasks that would help you personally be more prepared for the fall.
Tips for inside your home
#1 – Check for drafts
Feel for small pockets of airflow that could indicate a draft in your home. If you think you’ve found anywhere, a good trick to make sure is to take a candle and see if it flickers when you place it there. Seal or replace sealant around windows and doors if required.
Extra heavy curtains or blinds can also help at windows, reducing heat loss by around 10% [source: energy.gov].
#2 – Prep your water heater
Don’t get caught in the cold by an inefficient water heater! Drain the tank and give it a quick clean to make sure everything’s in proper working order and the tank system is clean and clear.
#3 – Test your home heating system
Similarly, it’s important to make sure your heating system is capable and ready. If you find that it’s not performing properly, it’s MUCH better to call out a professional now – rather than in the colder months (when everyone else will be calling them too). As with any system like these – if in doubt, call a pro!
#4 – Programmable thermostat
Make sure you’re only using the energy you need by setting up a programmable thermostat. Make sure the heating will be on around a half-hour before you’ll be up, and turn it off a half hour before going to bed (a cooler environment helps for a better, more natural sleep)
#5 – Look into home appliance apps
Never forget to turn off the AC again. Look into hooking up your home systems with a mobile application – allowing you full control over your heating and cooling systems from anywhere.
#6 – Inspect your gas furnace
Look for any leaks, and make sure everything is in good working order – especially gas pressure. Here’s a quick guide, but if you’re in any doubt, hire a professional!
#7 – Inspect your wood furnace
Lucky enough to have an authentic fireplace? Just because you’re not using modern fuel, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also inspect a wooden fireplace! Make sure the only thing’s going to be lighting up is the wood that you place on the fire, and that any smoke is set to flow freely up the chimney.
#8 – Create a ‘mud-spot’ by your door
Autumn and Winter can mean plenty of muddy and wet boots. Make sure you’ve got a small area, ideally a bench or somewhere to sit, that makes it easy to take off muddy shoes and wet jackets.
#9 – Ice-cold floors in the morning?
A well placed rug or two can make a world of difference for your feet during cold mornings and nights – without the hassle of switching to a full carpet.
#10 – Work from home?
Have a think about how heat-efficient your work area is. If you’ll be sitting stationary at your desk, make sure that there’s no major heat loss avenues in your surroundings. Better yet, consider moving to a smaller, cosier part of the house during the winter months. Heating larger areas can cost magnitudes more than a small space!
#11 – Store air conditioners
For indoor air conditioners, now is a great time to take them down, give them a quick clean/service, and place them in storage for the winter.
#12 – Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
This isn’t fall-specific, but it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re regularly checking your safety systems. You never know when you’ll need them.
#13 – Clean humidifiers/dehumidifiers
Similar to the detectors in #12, it’s always a good idea to make sure any humidifiers or dehumidifiers you’re using are able to operate freely.
#14 – Double check your emergency preparations
This is always an easy task to overlook, but make sure you and your family know what to do in the event of a fire. Double check your fire extinguishers and blankets, and make sure there’s a clear escape route with minimal fire hazards. Having kids clued in to an escape plan is also worthwhile – not just for safety reasons, but also to get them to consider their surroundings a bit more.
Tips for your house exterior
#15 – Check your roof for loose shingles / leaks / trapped debris
While you don’t have to climb up (standing back with a pair of binoculars can also do the trick), getting up close is the best way to get a good look at how your roof is doing. Look for any loose shingles, organise anywhere that leaves and debris have/could collect, and generally look for any major wear and tear locations.
#16 – Lucky enough to have a real working chimney? Get it cleaned!
Always a good idea to do this annually before winter kicks in. Similar to checking your water heater, you don’t want to end up in december with smoke getting trapped in the chimney and finding it’s way back out into your living room!
#17 – Clean out your gutters
Always the picturesque fall task. Even if you’re reading this in preparation for fall, it’s worth getting a quick gutter clean in early to make it less of a hassle when the fall really kicks in.
#18 – Inspect the house exterior
Looking for any general pockets of damage or places where air could flow inside your home.
#19 – Strengthen windows and doors by replacing screens with storm protection
You’ll know if you’re in a region which warrants this kind of protection! Sturdy storm doors and windows can make a world of difference if you’re expecting to be up against strong winds and storms.
#20 – Prepare outdoor AC units
Give any outdoor AC units a quick clean/service and cover them up for the winter. Adjust cooling schedules on any programmable systems accordingly.
#21 – Inspect water/drain flows
Ensure your drainages are clear and unobscured to allow for water flow to work as intended. Try to make sure it flows away from any typically manmade construction (concrete/wood)
#22 – Wrap your pipes!
For any exposed pipes that could be prone to freezing, try wrapping them with heat tape to help insulate them against freezing temperatures.
#23 – Clear out faucets and irrigation systems
Prevent damage from frozen water by draining and covering outdoor faucets and irrigation hoses.
#24 – Consider freeze-proof faucets
Ever had to deal with the catastrophe of your water pipe bursting? Freeze proof outdoor faucets are a great way to defend against this, and could save you plenty of hassle if you think you may be at risk.
#25 – Patch up any damaged concrete.
Winter is a dangerous time for concrete. If it has any cracks, rainfall can get in and then freeze overnight. Freezing water expands, which puts a lot of pressure on the concrete from the inside. This leads to more and bigger cracks, with the cycle repeating and repeating. So it’s worth doing some quick inspections of any driveways and steps that may need a quick patch up.
Garden & Outdoors Tips
#26 – Protect your pool
If you’re lucky enough to have a pool in your yard, it’s a good idea to wrap it up for the colder months (unless you particularly enjoy icy morning swims!). If you don’t know how to service it yourself, consider hiring a professional to help you out.
#27 – Prep your plants for winter
Trim back any plantlife in accordance with the climate you’re in, to help keep them healthier throughout the fall and winter months.
#28 – Plant spring bulbs
Fall is the perfect time to get any bulbs planted in order to have them ready for spring.
#29 – Clean up leaves and debris
If you’re going to have a large amount of leaves to clean up, consider looking into getting a leaf mulcher. Modern models can convert 15 bags worth of leaves into just one bag of the same size. We’ve covered some of the best leaf mulchers in our guide here.
#30 – Stockpile firewood
If you’ll be using firewood over the coming months, it’s best to get it organised and drying out now if you’re cutting your own wood. If you’re buying from elsewhere, get in there before everyone else for better stock deals!
#31 – Fertilize lawn
Winter can really tear up the quality of your lawn, so protect it with fertilizer to help keep it healthy throughout the cold months. A great tip, if you have a leaf mulcher, is to simply lay out the mulched leaves as a natural layer of fertilizer.
#32 – Create your compost pile
The start of fall is the perfect time to build up a compost heap to use next spring. Not sure how? Check out this great composting guide by ThisOldHouse.
#33 – Store garden furniture
Anything that you won’t be using for the next few months will always fare better in storage. As well as any wooden chairs and patio tables, putting away a trampoline is a great idea if it’s otherwise going to preventing valuable sunlight from getting to part of your grass.
#34 – Consider installing outdoor lanterns for your driveway / garden path
If you’ve always been ‘meaning to’ get some garden lighting sorted, there’s never a better time than now! Modern solar-powered lighting solutions are a fantastically efficient solution to making sure family and friends can find their way to your door without issue.
#35 – Or on the front of your garage / back door
Automatic floodlights can also be a great way to give you less to worry about in the darker months. No more fiddling with keys or dropping things in the darkness, which means you can get on doing what you need to do.
#36 – Construct a DIY trash shed to hide away trash containers
Check out this fantastic guide to building a small shed with a flip open lid, which hides away up to two 32 gallon containers. Perfect for keeping things tidy, as well as combatting pests and rodents.
#37 – Consider buying any other helpful winter appliances
The right appliance can make a world of difference when it comes to dealing with the colder and darker months. Think snow blowers, patio heaters, and propane heaters – which are a fantastic back-up heating option in-case the power ever goes out.
#38 – Prepare any summer equipment for storage
Clear out fuel tanks and do any oil changes on the equipment you won’t be needing over the next few months.
#39 – Store any summer vehicles
Similarly, park away any ‘big boy toys’ like ATV’s or motorbikes, before you get stuck trying to do it in harsh December weather.
#40 – Organise your storage
If all of your winter gear is stuck in the back of your garage, it’s better to spend an hour rearranging everything now rather than fighting with each piece of equipment individually as you need them.
Whether it was remembering to store away your summer equipment, or just making sure you’re not missing anything important, we hope this quick guide has helped you get your home ready for fall.
The peace of mind that comes with being well-prepared for the weather is invaluable, letting you fully enjoy the changing season – instead of being annoyed by it!
Thanks for reading.
– The Appliance Analysts